Was President Obama ever a victim of racial profiling?
"Not in any major way, say those close to him, but he certainly feels there have been times he was treated differently because of his race."
However post-racial the president tries to seem, as an African-American man, he, like so many, has had his experiences where he thought he was being racially profiled. As a state senator he initiated legislation to – as he put it at the time – put “police departments on notice that they're being observed” while providing “law enforcement with the information they need to address the problems” of racial profiling, while also calling for more training of police.
A 2003 Chicago Tribune story about that effort began: “Like many African-American men, Illinois state Sen. Barack Obama (D-Chicago) suspects but cannot prove he was a victim of racial profiling when he was stopped by police for no apparent reason.”
In his 2006 book The Audacity of Hope,” the president wrote: “Although, largely through luck and circumstance, I now occupy a position that insulates me from most of the bumps and bruises that the average black man must endure I can recite the usual litany of petty slights that during my 45 years have been directed my way: security guards tailing me as I shop in department stores, white couples who toss me their car keys as I stand outside a restaurant waiting for the valet, police cars pulling me over for no apparent reason."
Continued the president: "I know what it's like to have people tell me I can't do something because of my color, and I know the bitter swill of swallowed-back anger. I know as well that Michelle and I must be continually vigilant against some of the debilitating story lines that our daughters may absorb from TV and music and friends and the streets about who the world thinks they are, and what the world imagines they should be."
Interestingly, when asked at a July 2007 debate if he was "authentically black enough," then-Sen. Obama joked,"when I'm catching a cab in Manhattan in the past, I think I've given my credentials." He then turned to the "broader issue...that is that race permeates our society."
Video at the link: Police Protocol or Racial Profiling
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